Review: The Expendables 3 (2014)

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Sylvester Stallone and his ragtag team of ageing action heroes return in The Expendables 3, the third and potentially final entry in the increasingly preposterous, testosterone-fuelled franchise. Under the helm of Red Hill director Patrick Hughes, The Expendables 3 finds Barney (Stallone) up against old partner-turned-foe Conrad Stonebacks (Mel Gibson), this time with some new, younger and more tech-savvy mercenaries along for the ride. Continue reading “Review: The Expendables 3 (2014)”

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DVD Releases: May 30, 2011

Just Go With It

Director: Dennis Dugan

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and Brooklyn Decker

The Dilemma 

Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James and Winona Ryder

Conviction

Director: Tony Goldwyn

Starring: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell and Melissa Leo

Red Hill

Director: Patrick Hughes

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley and Tommy Lewis

Cinema Releases: May 13, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight

Director: Michael Dowse

Starring: Topher Grace, Anna Faris and Dan Fogler

Red Hill

Director: Patrick Hughes

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley and Tommy Lewis

The Way

Director: Emilio Estevez

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen and Deborah Kara Unger

Love Like Poison

Director: Katell Quillévéré

Starring: Clara Augarde, Lio and Michel Galabru

Amreeka 

Director: Cherien Dabis

Starring: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem and Alia Shawkat

A Screaming Man

Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Starring: Youssouf Djaoro, Dioucounda Koma and Emile Abossolo M’bo

That’s What I Am

Director: Michael Pavone

Starring: Ed Harris, Molly Parker and Randy Orton

Review: Red Hill (2010)

Red Hill is both a genre homage and an imitation, taking the long-standing logistics of the iconic western and infusing it with modern-day cinematic and narrative devices in a clever, intriguing, and unprecedented way.

The film centers on Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten), a police officer who moves to the middle of nowhere with his pregnant wife to escape the stresses of city life. On his first day on the local force he has to contend with his hostile boss Old Bill (Steve Bisley) and the imminent arrival of a very dangerous escaped convict (Tommy Lewis).

Patrick Hughes excels in his direction and, with the assistance of cinematographer Tim Hudson’s dreary lighting and clever camera angles, demonstrates an uncomfortably intrinsic ability to exploit and unnerve his viewers, particularly in the way he fleeces suspense out of the most elementary of happenings.

He elicits hearty performances from the entire cast, but most superby from the undeniably likeable Kwanten and acrimonious Bisley. Kwanten, in particular, is simply fantastic as Shane. Realistic, charismatic, and more than capable of taking on a lead role, Kwanten instils a wonderfully cool and collected air to Shane that makes him ever more matter-of-fact yet eerily frightening at the same time.

It’s due to uneven writing and a air of predictability, however, that the film stumbles. It starts out as an extremely tense, exciting and gritty revenge thriller but, through many foolish character choices and implausible narrative crossroads, slowly unravels into a generic, sometimes nonsensical, and all-too familiar blood bath.

While not too detrimental to the overall experience, especially since the coarse atmospherics and plastering of archetypal revenge western conventions gel surprisingly well together, it does prevent the film from being wholly logical, tonally sound and entirely convincing.

Nevertheless, Red Hill still manages to be an insanely fun, stunningly shot, brilliantly acted, and all together dazzling directorial debut. Hughes is a writer/director to keep your eye on.